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Much like Apple Inc's Knowledge Navigator concept, Tom acts as a butler within a virtual space populated with hypermedia: linked text, sound, pictures and movies represented by animated icons. The documentary is centred on Adams browsing these media and discovering theirinterconnectedness.
This process leads him, for example, from the topic Atlantic Ocean to literature about the sea toThe Rime of the Ancient Mariner by Samuel Taylor Coleridge to the poem Kubla Khan by the same author to Xanadu and back to the topic of hypertext via Ted Nelson's Project Xanadu. The references to Coleridge and to Kubla Khan are rather knowing nods to Adams' own book Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency, where they play significant roles in the plot. Dirk Gently was published in 1987 and also touches on the themes of interconnectedness, suggesting that this was a subject Adams had thought about at some length and some time.
Many aspects of the documentary demonstrate Adams' noted enthusiasm for technology, and for Apple computers in particular. At the beginning of the documentary a Macintosh Portable can be seen, and most of the projects presented run on Apple hardware. Even the general design of the animated icons and environments featured in his dream are inspired by pre-OS X era Mac OS icons and design cues.
The dream (and the documentary) ends with a vision of how information might be accessed in 2005. In hindsight, Hyperland does describe a number of features of the modern web and, apart from some underestimates of graphics and processing power available, the documentary paints a not inaccurate picture of hypermedia andhypertext and how they are used today. This is especially noteworthy considering that it predates the public release of the first Web browser by about a year.
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